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Monday, February 4, 2008

Chic - Real People

posted by on February 4 at 12:20 PM

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Interesting facts about Chic:

At 13 both Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were hippies.

They took their first hits of LSD with Timothy Leary.

Rodgers was a member of the Black Panthers.

Rodgers also “laid down some tasty licks over which Big Bird and the Cookie Monster would drop science” as a guitarist for Sesame Street in the early ‘70’s.

Chic had Warner Bros. biggest hit ever with “Le Freak”.

Chic loved punk music.

Before being called Chic, they toyed with the name Boyz and Orange Julius. Being into rock music Niles recalls, “Tony (Thompson) and I were rock guys, we wanted to be, you know, the Punks and the blah blah blah. ‘Hey, we could be the Chic Punks, the punks who dress up in whatever’” They settled on Chic.

After their success with “Le Freak” they were offered production work for any artists on WB roster. They chose the unknown Sister Sledge. They produced “We Are Family”.

In 1980 WB started to force them to do stuff they didn’t want to do. “They were afraid and ‘disco sucks,’ so they were trying to make us not disco.”

They made “Real People” the hippest anti-hipster song, in the history of reactionary music.

It’s janky and confusing, stop-and-go and strutting, silken and synthetic, hand-made and automatic.

It is their statement on their demise.

Chic is Real People.

RSS icon Comments

1

Chic is AWESOME. Unfortunately, Bernard Edwards died an untimely death from pneumonia when they were on tour in Japan in 1996. He was one of the best bass players ever.

Posted by E | February 4, 2008 12:56 PM
2

My favorite personal Chic experience was listening to "Le Freak" more than 20 times simply because it was the only American song on a jukebox in a Portuguese bar the size of a walk-in closet. And it was awesome.

Posted by bronkitis | February 4, 2008 2:19 PM
3

I love Peter Shapiro too, and I love the Big Bird line as much as you do.

Lyrics-wise, Real People is the most breathtakingly savage album I know this side of Steely Dan's Countdown to Ecstasy (from before they became all slick all the time). I can't think of many records as outright jaded. Yet there's an oasis or two: "I Loved You More" and "You Can't Do It Alone" are as beautiful as anything they ever did, and are the moments of perspective and sanity on the entire party's-over line running through the album.

Posted by Matos W.K. | February 4, 2008 3:27 PM
4

Yeah, this album is totally killing me right now. their whole career, when looked at as commentary, instead of party anthem, is pretty misanthropic.

i had to go back to the book and look that quote up. shapiro goes in and out of various interviews with rodgers so much i thought i was quoting rodgers again! you are correct, though, that is a shapiro quote (and a fucking hilarious one, as is the one about the hustle from friday....)

Posted by terry miller | February 4, 2008 4:17 PM
5

and most importantly, of course, they hired Slash to play lead for this tour:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8UpqHhCABHY

Posted by dc | February 4, 2008 6:08 PM
6

Have you read Daryl Easlea's book on Chic? It's not the work of a seasoned writer--not well written, repeats itself a lot--but there's tons of information in it worth knowing if you're on a Chic bender. Another album you need if you don't have it is The Disco Years Vol. 4, on Rhino--a great collection in itself but the first six songs are all Chic and are a dazzling mini-display of the Org in its prime. It climaxes with what might be my favorite Chic Org production, Norma Jean's "I Like Love." The guitar break is to die for.

Posted by Matos W.K. | February 4, 2008 6:08 PM
7

@1:
Tony Thompson died an untimely death as well. He was one of the best drummers ever. Where's the love?????????

Ohhh, and uh, Nile Rodgers saying he dropped LSD with Timothy Leary is like Mitt Romney saying his Dad walked with Martin Luther King, don'cha think?

Posted by Uri | February 4, 2008 6:45 PM
8

norma jeans album is fantastic!

weird. who knew there were so many chic freaks out there?

my personal fave is Sister Sledge's "Lost In Music". It's so strictly rhythmical it's nearly anti-music. It's dark, yet miraculously joyful at the same time. Chic were the masters of contrarian music. they played one way, and the lyrics were heading in the opposite direction.

icons for sure.

Posted by terry miller | February 4, 2008 9:30 PM
9

Hell... I never knew that THAT was the name of that song... thought it was "l'Afrique" all these years... (& I dropped acid with Leary, too... or it'd be more accurate to say "stoned in the same milieu"... see? didn't make me any hipper at all) ^..^

Posted by herbert browne | February 5, 2008 12:37 AM

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